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THE DREAM OF CLARENCE.
Clarence. Oh, I have pass'd a miserable night,
Brak. What was your dream, my lord? I pray you,
Clar. Methought that I had broken from the Tower,
did once inhabit, there were crept (As 'twere in scorn of eyes) reflecting gems, Ìhat woocd the slimy bottom of the deep, And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatter'd by.
Brak. Had you such leisure in the time of death, To gaze upon these secrets of the deep?
Clar. Methought I had; and often did I strive
To yield the ghost; but still the envious flood
Brak. Awaked you not with this sore agony?
Clar. Oh, no; my dream was lengthen’d after life;
Brak. No marvel, lord, that it affrighted you;
Clar. O Brakenbury, I have done these things,
(CLARENCE reposes himself on a chair )
They often feel a world of restless cares;
BY PROF. WILSON.
ROBERT BURNS, the celebrated Scottish poet, was born in Ayrshire, one of the western counties of Scotland, in 1759, and died at Dumfries in 1796.
1. BURNS is by far the greatest poet that ever sprung from the bosom of the people, and lived and died in an humble condition. Indeed, no country in the world but Scotland could have produced such a man; and he will be forever regarded as the glorious representative of the genius of his country. He was born a poet, if ever man was; and.to his native genius alone is owing the perpetuity of his fame. For he manifestly had never very deeply studied poetry as an art, nor reasoned much about its principles, nor looked abroad with the wide ken of intellect for objects and subjects on which to pour out his inspiration.
2. The condition of the peasantry of Scotland--the happiest, perhaps, that Providence ever allowed to the children of laborwas not surveyed and speculated upon by him as the field of poetry, but as the field of his own existence; and he chronicled the events that passed there, not merely as food for his imagination as a poet, but as food for his heart as a man. Hence, when inspired to compose poetry, poetry came gushing up from the well of his human affections, and he had nothing more to do than to pour it, like streams irrigating a meadow, in many a cheerful tide over the drooping flowers and fading verdure of life.
3. Imbued with vivid perceptions, warm feelings, and strong passions, he sent his own existence into that of all things, animate and inanimate, around him; and not an occurrence in hamlet, village, or town, affecting in any way the happiness of the human heart, but roused as keen an interest in the soul of Burns, and as genial a sympathy, as if it had immediately concerned himself and his own individual welfare. Most other poets of rural life have looked on it through the aerial vail of imagination,--often beautified, no doubt, by such partial concealment, and beaming with misty softness more delicate than the truth. But Burns
would not thus indulge his fancy where he had feltfelt so poignantly-all the agonies and all the transports of life.
4. He looked around him, and, when he saw the smoke of the cottage rising up quietly and unbroken to heaven, he knew (for he had seen and blessed it) the quiet joy and unbroken contentment that slept below; and, when he saw it driven and dispersed by the winds, he knew also but too well (for too sorely had he felt them) those agitations and disturbances which had shook him till he wept on his chaff bed. In reading his poetry, therefore, we know what unsubstantial dreams are those of the golden age.
But bliss beams upon us with a more subduing brightness through the dim melancholy that shrouds lowly life; and when the peasant Burns rises up in his might as Burns the poet, and is seen to derive all that might from the life which at this hour the peasantry of Scotland are leading, our hearts leap up within us, because that such is our country, and such the nobility of her children.
5. There is no delusion, no affectation, no exaggeration, no falsehood, in the spirit of Burns's poetry. He rejoices like an untamed enthusiast, and he weeps like a prostrate penitent. In joy and in grief the whole man appears. Some of his finest effusions were poured out before he left the fields of his childhood, and when he scarcely hoped for other auditors than his own heart and the simple dwellers of the hamlet. He wrote not to please or surprise others,—we speak of those first effusions, but his own creative delight; and, even after he had discovered his power to kindle the sparks of nature wherever they slumbered, the effect to be produced seldom seems to
een considered by him, assured that his poetry could not fail to produce the same passion in the hearts of other men from which it boiled over in his own.
6. Out of himself, and beyond his own nearest and dearest concerns, he well could, but he did not much love often or long to go. His imagination wanted not wings, broad and strong, for highest flights. But he was most at home when walking on this earth, through this world, even along the banks and braes of the streams of Coila. It seems as if his muse were loth to admit almost any thought, feeling, or image drawn from any other region than his native district,—the hearth-sti ne of his father's hut,—the still or troubled chamber of his own generous and passionate bosom. Dear to him the jocund laughter of the reapers on the cornfield,—the tears and sighs which his own strains had won from the children of nature, enjoying the midday hour of rest beneath the shadow of the hedgerow-tree.
7. With what pathetic personal power, from all the circumstances of his character and condition, do many of his humblest lines affect us! Often, too often, as we hear him singing, we think that we see him suffering ! “Most musical, most melancholy,” he often is, even in his merriment! In him, alas ! the transports of inspiration are but too closely allied with realities, -kindred agonies. The strings of his lyre sometimes yield their finest music to the sighs of remorse or repentance. Whatever, therefore, be the faults or defects of the poetry of Burns,--and no doubt it has many,—it has, beyond all that was ever written, this greatest of all merits,—intense, life-pervading, and lifebreathing truth.
TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY, ON TURNING IT DOWN WITH A
BY ROBERT BURNS.
1. Stour, dust. 3. Glinted, peeped. 4. Bield, shelter. 4. Histie, dry, barren.
1. WEE, modest, crimson-tipped flower,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
Thy slender stem :
Thou bonnie gem!
The bonnie lark, companion meet !
Wi' speckled breast,
The purpling east.
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Amid the storm !
Thy tender form.
High sheltering woods and wa's maun shield;